Sean Cwynar never considered himself a big Notre Dame football fan ... until he walked across the universityâs campus.
Once in South Bend, Ind., the Marian Central junior lineman was ready to wake up some echoes and shake down some thunder.
Cwynar visited Notre Dame on Sunday, his second junior day on campus, then called Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis on his way home, telling Weis he would see him again soon.
Cwynar drove back to South Bend on Tuesday morning to shake Weisâ hand in person and commit to the school on a football scholarship. Cwynar (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) will not sign for another 11 months but saw no need to wait any longer.
âI knew Iâd come here, eventually,â said Cwynar, an offensive tackle and defensive end on Marianâs IHSA Class 5A state runner-up team. âThere was no reason to lead other schools on. I called about 50 coaches and told them, âThank you for recruiting me, but Iâm going to Notre Dame.â â
Cwynar was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection at offensive lineman, but also had 15 sacks on defense, which is where he will play for the Irish. Cwynar said the coaches project him as an end in their 3-4 front.
Marianâs other big lineman, senior Bryan Bulaga, went through the recruitment process last year and committed to Iowa in May. Cwynar, who has been workout partners with Bulaga, committed two months earlier.
While many Catholic boys grow up as Irish fans, that wasnât the case with Cwynar.
âI really wasnât a follower that much,â he said. âBut when you come here, you feel something special. Itâs really unexplainable. The history and fan following is just amazing. Iâm their first defensive recruit, so Iâll have an early opportunity to start, Iâll get an Ivy League-like education and be on TV every week. Itâs really the whole package.â
Cwynar ended up with 13 offers and is sure more will come. Until players actually sign â“ which for football will be the first week of February â“ they are not locked into schools. At least some of the 40 or so text messages Cwynar receives every day will stop.
Cwynar hung around campus Tuesday, soaking everything in, eating lunch at a dining hall and speaking with strength and conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza. He watched some of the players go through their lifting regimens.